Recorded in England in a wide range of spellings including Jest, Jeste, Joce, Jose, Joist, Jost, Joust and Joost, this is a surname of Germanic, Dutch, Breton and Norman-Franch origins. It is a cognate of the surname 'Joyce', itself deriving from the Breton personal name Iodoc, a diminutive of 'Iudh' meaning 'lord' and introduced into England by the Normans in the forms Iocius or Josce. Both these names are recorded in 'Social and Economic Documents of London' c.1140. Josse was the name of a saint who had a hermitage at the modern village of St.Josse-sur-Mer in Brittany, in the 7th century. Early examples of the surname recordings include: Isaac Joscei in the 'Pipe Rolls' of Middlesex in the year 1208, and Nicholas Joce of Hampshire, in the Hundred Rolls of 1273. Interestingly the German form of Jost and the Dutch of Joost are both recorded in London in the early 18th century. Examples taken from early surving church registers of the diocese of Greater London include Thomas Jeste who married at St Giles Cripplegate on June 7th 1631, Mary Jost, the daughter of Hans Jost, christened at St. Botolph without, Aldgate on April 14th 1714, and Elizabeth Emma Joist, who was christened at St. George the Martyr, Southwark, on April 20th 1823. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Joce. which was dated 1353, in the Pipe Rolls of Essex, during the reign of King Edward III of England, 1327-1377. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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